Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


of France in the eighteenth century will not explain to us
the origin of the minuet.

. With regard to either an economic or a Marxian
^interpretation of history, it is not clear at first glance
how far one ought to desire it, however—how far
indeed one ought to desire anything that pretends in
this particular way to offer an interpretation of the
processes of history. Whether die system is a sort of
philosophy that we bring to our history before we begin
our enquiry, or we regard it as the distilled essence of
what we conceive ourselves to have learned from all
our study of history, there are objections to it; and I
wonder if I am merely being foolish when I say it is
better for the ordinary technical student not to philoso-
phise but to do history, just historically to enquire.
But I suppose it is true that mere evidence is useless to
a person who is reading history altogether in the wrong
universe. There is a right way and there is a wrong
way of approaching history; there is a right feeling to
have for historical events ; there is a sensitiveness that
one may have, a proper awareness of the character of
the historical process. When Napoleon said that the
nature of the weapons decides everything else in the
art and organisation of war; when Parry showed
how the nature of instruments conditioned a develop-
ment in music at an important point; when Holland
Rose described how men opened their minds quickly
enough for the great voyages of discovery once the
requisite nautical apparatus was at their service;
when Virginia Woolf gave £500 a year and a room of
one's own as a necessary condition for the production